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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

10 Tips to Living a Real Food Lifestyle

This week I was asked to do a guest blog post for my friend and Yogi Katia Grodecki from the Dharmawanderlust Blog... I wanted to share that post with everyone here as well!  Check it out...


From time to time, we feature guest posts from interesting fellow bloggers. I met Crystal online a few years ago when we both were expecting our first babies. I have been following her journey to taking better care of herself and her family through healthy nutrition and exercise, and have shared in her excitement when she wrote about her transformation. I am very happy to have Crystal contribute to the Dharma Wanderlust blog this week with this important topic.

Thank you Katia for having me!  I’m excited and nervous to post on someone else’s blog but I hope to be able to share what I have learned and even if I can inspire just one person to make a few changes to the way they view food, I will have succeeded!
I have been living what I call the “Real Food” Lifestyle for about 4 and a half years.  It all started with me reading the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  My eyes opened up and I changed my family’s entire way of looking at food.  Luckily my son was only about a year old at the time so he has literally grown up eating very few processed foods, and when he does he knows it’s a huge treat!
My father passed away just a few months before I discovered this book and I believe that his passing was what triggered my interest in this area.  My dad always spoke about things like Diet pop giving you cancer and used coconut oil before it was a thing!  I grew up with this lifestyle but I also grew up not knowing about why processed foods aren’t good for our bodies.
When I read In Defense of Food, I literally felt like I was hearing my dad talk to me because so much of it I had heard cross his lips over the years.
I’m no expert by any means but I do love to share what I have learned and hopefully help others see food a little differently too.
Want to feel better about your eating habits?  More energy?  Maybe lose a few pounds and get your body to a healthy weight?
When I started eating what I call “Real Food,” all these things happened for me and my husband!  Eating this way was not about weight loss for us, it was about eating well and having healthy bodies!  But we did end up dropping a few pounds, too, which was a nice bonus!
Here are my top 10 tips to eating Real food:
  1. Eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods.
    • Whole foods typically don’t have a label telling you that they are healthy for you. Think of an apple… An apple doesn’t try to convince you that it is healthy so you will want to buy it, but the foods that claim to be healthy “Low Fat”, “Low Sugar” and the like are usually overly processed and when one thing is removed they will add others in order to make it taste good!  Choose wisely.
  2. Stop eating when you feel full: Listen to your internal cues and stop eating when you feel full.
    •  Michael Pollan says instead of using our internal cues to know when to stop eating, most of us “allow external, and usually visual, cues to determine how much we should eat.” Think back to your last meal…did you stop eating when your gut told you you’d had enough or when your plate was clean, the package was empty, or the T.V. show was over.
  3. Never cut any food group out of your diet, including carbohydrates.
    • So many diets are based on cutting out one food group or reducing the amount of something.  My suggestion is, rather than cut out a food group, cut out anything man-made (in a lab).  If you don’t recognize the ingredient, chances are your body won’t either and it won’t know what to do with it.
  4. Need a sweet treat? Dark chocolate is packed with healthy nutrients. Moreover, it improves mood!
  5. All grains consumed must be 100% whole-grain.
    • Read the labels, as many products claim to be whole wheat, but they must be 100%, not 50/50, to be considered real food.  Also make sure you read the ingredients list on the back of breads, buns and crackers…
  6. No more than 10 ingredients - Avoid any and all packaged food products that contain more than 10 ingredients, no matter what ingredients. When buying packaged foods, read the nutrition labels carefully.
    • The more ingredients in a packaged food, the more highly processed it probably is. Note 1: A long list of ingredients in a recipe is not the same thing; that’s fine. Note 2: Some products now boast, somewhat deceptively, about their short ingredient lists. Be sure to check out that short ingredient list and be mindful of the other tips listed when scanning the list.
  7. Beverages should be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). Limit yourself to one cup of juice per week and NO soda!
    • As far as sweetening your beverages, all sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, brown sugar, etc.) are high in calories and low in nutrients. The artificial sweeteners that have no calories are just chemically created imitations invented in a lab somewhere…YUCK! So no matter what kind of sweetener one uses I hope that it is, first of all, not an imitation and second of all, used in moderation. Best to stick to 100% pure maple syrup or honey.
  8. Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”
    • Scared of whole milk, cream or full fat cheese?  Don’t be.  Trust me, the low-fat diet fad is just that… The trouble is, it’s ingrained in so many of us that low fat is better for us!  It’s really not! Fats in things like sour cream and yogurt are replaced with hydrogenated oils and the cream in ‘whipped cream’ and ‘coffee creamer’ are replaced with corn starch. Usually if they take something out (like fat) they add something in to keep people satisfied (like sugar). Sugar is the enemy, not Fat!
  9. No refined or artificial sweeteners including (but not limited to): white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, sucanat, splenda, stevia, agave, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and cane juice. 
    • Foods and beverages should only be sweetened with a moderate amount of honey or maple syrup. (See reasons above in beverage note #7)
  10. No refined or hydrogenated oils including (but not limited to): vegetable oil, organic vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, organic canola oil, margarine, and grape seed oil.
    • Instead, choose real Butter, olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, and flax seed oil.
I could literally chat about this topic all day long!  But for now I’ll leave it at these 10 tips!
Comment below with your questions or opinions. ;)

Thank you, Crystal, for this important informative information! To follow Crystal, visit her blog or Facebook page. - 
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